Cognitive function is essential for most behaviors of daily living and is a critical component in assessing the quality of life. Mounting prospective evidence supports the use of isometric handgrip exercise (IHE) as a small muscle mass practice to promote health-related outcomes in clinical and healthy populations. The aim of the present review was to systematically investigate whether IHE is effective in improving the cognitive function of adults (aged ≥18 years). Studies were identified by searching five databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, PsychINFO, and Web of Science). Eight out of 767 studies met the inclusion criteria, including three types of studies: 1) acute effect for IHE with various intensity protocols (n = 4); 2) acute effect for IHE with one set exhaustion protocol (n = 2); and 3) chronic effect of IHE on cognitive function (n = 2). To assess the methodological quality of studies, the PEDro scale was used (mean score = 6.75). The evidence on whether IHE exerts acute positive effects on cognitive performance is currently rather inconclusive. However, a trend was discernible that implementing IHE can generate a beneficial chronic effect on cognitive function, although the results should be interpreted with caution. The clinical relevance of IHE as a time-efficient type of physical exercise to improve cognitive function warrants further investigation. Methodology and safety considerations were discussed. Systematic Review Registration: (https://osf.io/gbzp9). Copyright © 2022 Zhu, He, Herold, Sun, Li, Tao and Gao.
CitationZhu, Y., He, S., Herold, F., Sun, F., Li, C., Tao, S., & Gao, T.-Y. (2022). Effect of isometric handgrip exercise on cognitive function: Current evidence, methodology, and safety considerations. Frontiers in Physiology, 13. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2022.1012836
- Systematic review
- Executive function
- Static exercise